A MOOC by Any Other Name? An Online Course

“I’d aspired to give people a profound education—to teach them something substantial…but the data was at odds with this idea,” declared Sebastian Thrun, founder of the Silicon Valley MOOC platform Udacity in a recent Fast Company article.

But if you have been tracking Thrun’s work over the past year, you will see his statement as nothing terribly new. Udacity has been consistently migrating away from uber-sized MOOCs (massive online open courses) aimed at the degreed professional seeking career development or personal enrichment and toward providing a platform, instructional design and analytics for the delivery of quality non-MOOC online courses.

Udacity’s partnership with Georgia Tech on a low-cost computer science degree is a prime example. Georgia Tech provides content and academic expertise while Udacity serves as the platform and designer. With admission requirements and tuition, the only thing that makes this degree program MOOC-like is the fact that Udacity is involved.

Indeed, it was a conversation with Thrun about a year ago that inspired me to define the evolution of MOOC development from 1.0 to 2.0 to 3.0.

ACE recently collaborated with InsideTrack on a research study, To MOOC or Not to MOOC: Strategic Lessons From the Pioneers. This study explored the experiences of a sample of senior leaders and faculty involved in creating and delivering the first MOOCs.

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